If you think someone you know has been the victim of bullying or harassment, there are lots of ways in which you can help them. 

Understanding the behaviours associated with bullying and harassment is a good place to start. Most people will be able to describe what has or is happening to them and how it's making them feel. 

Bullying: In most cases, bullying is unacceptable behaviour, usually repeated over time, which causes intimidation, fear or humiliation and that involves a real or perceived power imbalance (power imbalances could be about social or group power, power due to role, physical strength, access to embarrassing information). 

Harassment: Harassment is when someone intentionally or unintentionally violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, which interferes with an individual’s learning, working or social environment. Some forms of harassment are considered a hate crime.  A hate incident or crime is any act of violence or hostility against a person or property that is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person due to a particular protected characteristic. 

Bullying and harassment are contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the University Dignity at Work and Study Policy


Are they in immediate danger? If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you/they can contact the emergency services on 999 (or 112 from a mobile phone) and the University’s Security Team (if you are on campus).  

Find a safe space.  If an incident has just happened, try and find somewhere they feel safe. If this isn't possible and they are scared you can call security on 02380 593311. 

What are bullying and harassment? It might be useful to think about what bullying and harassment is and how some of the behaviours are described. 


Listen. Just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help. These six active listening tips might help you support them. (Published on 4 October 2015 and based on the Samaritans guidelines for active listening.)

Give options. When they have finished talking ask them if they are okay to talk through some possible options and next steps. 

Harassment Contacts are volunteers from a variety of roles on campus who can provide confidential advice on what you can do in response to bullying and harassment. Contacting them does not begin any formal procedure and does not commit you to any action. They provide informal, personal support and advice based on experience and knowledge of the options available. 


Report and Support. Students and staff can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. They can choose to do this anonymously or they can request support from an advisor. If they choose to talk to an advisor they will be able to talk through the options and support available to the person, in confidence. 

University policy. If they choose to make a formal complaint to the University against a student or a member of staff there are procedures which set out the steps you'll need to follow. 
Reporting to the police. You can report to the police on the phone, in person or using an online form. If you’re thinking of reporting sexual misconduct or domestic violence to the police, here is a useful Rights of Women guide to understand the process of criminal investigation. 

Report the incident anonymously. You can call Crime Stoppers at any point on 0800 555 111 or use their online form. 

Get support 

Support for students can be accessed 24/7 via The Student Hub. You can call The Student Hub team on +44(0)23 80599 599 and select option two for wellbeing or if you would prefer, email studenthub@soton.ac.uk

The SUSU Advice Centre is a free, confidential, impartial service where an advisor can talk through the procedure, how to complain, what options are available and support you through the process. This support includes checking draft complaints and attending any meetings with the University. 

Employee Assistance Programme. EAP is a confidential and independent support service for university staff. 

There are two ways you can tell us what happened